Thailand to host more Myanmar talks in April
BANGKOK: Thailand will host a second round of international talks on military-ruled Myanmar’s progress towards democracy next month, Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai said on Tuesday.
“We are working on a date,” Surakiart told reporters, but he did not say whether Thailand’s condition for a second session — that the military government come up with a timetable for promised moves towards democracy — had been met. Nor did he say whether opposition leader leader Aung San Suu Kyi, detained since last May, would be freed ahead of the talks, although experts on Myanmar say it would be impossible to make progress until she is freed from confinement at her Yangon home.
At the first Bangkok 12-nation conference in December, Myanmar pledged to embark on a “road map to democracy” this year by reconvening a long-suspended constitutional convention. It has not announced a date for the convention, suspended since 1996 when Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party walked out accusing the military of manipulating the meeting.
Critics have dismissed the “road map” as a ploy by the military - which has ruled the former Burma since 1962 - to stay in power. However, U.N. special envoy Razali Ismail, who visited Yangon earlier this month for talks with the government and Suu Kyi, has said he expected the Nobel Peace prize winner to be freed by the Myanmar new year in mid-April. —Reuter